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Spurs set franchise record with 18th straight win, send Pacers into deeper despair

Mar 31, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT

Manu Ginobili, Orlando Johnson

Technically, the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers each have the most wins in their respective conferences.

In reality, these teams hardly anything in common at this point.

The Spurs beat the Pacers, 103-77, tonight for San Antonio’s 17th straight win. It’s the longest win streak in franchise history – breaking a tie with a 16-game streak in 1996, before Gregg Popovich was even coach – and tied for the eighth-longest streak of all time.

The Pacers, on the other hand, have lost 10 of 16 – their worst stretch since Frank Vogel became permanent head coach.

The only way to compare these teams is ask whether the degree to which Spurs are surging is greater than the degree to which Pacers are drowning, or vice versa.

Tonight, The Pacers had more turnovers (15) than assists (14), and they shot 38 percent – extending a historic display of bad shooting.

Roy Hibbert called his teammates selfish and then took this shot. Now, his coach his publically disagreeing with him:

Every time it seems it can’t get worse for Indiana, it does.

The Spurs, on the other hand, look better than ever. They’re pulling away from the Thunder for homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs, peaking at just the right time.

Tim Duncan shot just 3-for-10 and had three turnovers, but San Antonio is just so deep it didn’t matter. Behind Duncan, the Spurs have kept a steady focus all these years.

As the Pacers are learning, it’s hard enough to maintain focus when under the spotlight of contending for just a couple years.

Next week, maybe the picture looks completely different. The Pacers could be back on track, and the Spurs could look old.

But, right now, these seemingly similar teams are worlds apart.

  1. pharohislife - Mar 31, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Pacers are in trouble. Heat vs. Nets Conference Finals, that’s what I want to see.

    • henryd3rd - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:29 AM

      Who cares what you want to see? I just want to see good basketball.

      • pharohislife - Apr 1, 2014 at 5:38 AM

        That is good basketball.

  2. antistratfordian - Mar 31, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    There is really no such thing as “peaking at just the right time” for the Spurs. It doesn’t matter how well they’re playing – they’re adept at finding new ways to disappoint their fans once the playoffs start.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      I can think of about twenty-eight other fan bases that would be thrilled to be disappointed by their teams in the playoffs like the Spurs.

      • miamatt - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:14 PM

        No kidding. The Spurs consistency is unreal.

        I understand anti’s sentiment, the Spurs have indeed flamed out as a high seed at times. Still, in the last 2 years they have lost in the Finals and the Conference finals. Disappointing b/c everybody who doesn’t win the title is disappointed. But it’s not like they’ve been getting knocked out early. I do think OKC will ultimately win the West, but the Spurs are definitely right there.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:37 PM

        No, anti’s sentiment is that he’s a fan of a pathetic team that hasn’t won anything since before the merger but fancies itself as one of the league’s elite franchises, so in his bitterness he resorts to tearing down the greatness of his betters.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:03 AM

        What difference does it make? You don’t win anything for getting a #1 seed. I think Spurs fans have been tortured more than, say, Pistons fans in the last 8 years. At least the poor teams of today have some hope for the future.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 1, 2014 at 7:50 AM

        A team with inept management that hasn’t shown they can build around a team a stud even if they do luck into one in the draft has more hope than the league’s model organization that was a blown layup and a miracle threw away from winning it all ten months ago? Your jealousy knows no bounds.

    • casualcommenter - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:31 PM

      By that standard, LeBron-led teams disappointed his fans every single year of his career except for the previous two.

      Like the Spurs, he always found a way to lose either in round 2, round 3, or in the Finals until 2012 and 2013.

      He found new ways to disappoint fans once the playoffs started – he’d sometimes lose while averaging over 35 points per game, and he’d sometimes lose after disappearing late in games.

      • antistratfordian - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:51 PM

        LeBron was one person – so that’s excusable. The Spurs are a team with several good-to-great players and a hall-of-fame coach.

        Plus, the next time LeBron has the #1 seed and loses in the first round will be the 1st time (2011 Spurs).

      • savvybynature - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:03 AM

        He also has half the titles that Duncan has, and a 2-2 Finals record v. Duncan’s record of 4-1 (1-1 head-to-head).
        Anyone who has been a fan of Duncan or the Spurs is anything but disappointed. Not only is Duncan one of the greatest of all-time, but he did it without things like The Decision, getting police escorts because he is late to a concert, putting himself on Mt. Rushmore, predicting 8 titles before he’d ever even won one, etc.

    • casualcommenter - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:34 PM

      PS Comments like that are why you’re universally considered to be a LeBron-loving troll. I remember you commenting a ton over at ESPN, and you never called LeBron a failure despite the Cavs and Heat losing in the playoffs every year until the past 2 postseasons.

      Now that LeBron has won two championships, you’ve redefined failure as including losses even in the Finals in order to trash the Spurs, who narrowly lost in the Finals last year.

      I’m sure if the Heat lose in the Finals, you won’t come on here and explain how LeBron found a way to disappoint his fans. Instead, you’ll complain about his supporting cast and make excuses, because that’s what trolls do.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM

        Heh. You’re the one bringing up LeBron in here – for some reason you typed his name about 6 times in your last two posts. Not sure why…

        But the Spurs are now known mostly for spectacular chokes in the playoffs – whether losing in the first round as a 61-win team 1 seed, or losing 4 straight to the Thunder after winning 20 straight, or their all-time great collapse at the end of Game 6 last year. These are facts whether you like them or not.

        If it upsets you then email Greg Popovich and complain to him about his poor decision making.

  3. 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 31, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    Truly don’t care about the 1 seed. But with the way the Pacers carried on all season about it, getting the 1 seed is just so funny. Weren’t even trying for it. Don’t even deserve it. But the Pacers? You have to love it.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      I am also enjoying this Pacers meltdown. They’re a fine team loaded with talent and defensive chemistry but everybody jumped on board too soon. Have we all forgotten that being 34-7 in the first half has no bearing on the playoffs? They may have peaked in last year’s ECF and through the first half of this season. Reminds me of the suddenly regular-season dominant Bulls from a couple years back.

    • casualcommenter - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:40 PM

      This I buy. The Heat have been resting Wade all year, and they have begun resting other players like Ray Allen. They also sleepwalked against a lot of lottery teams.

      They haven’t behaved like a team desperate to claim the number 1 seed, yet here they are, currently the number 1 seed.

      This collapse by the Pacers is unreal. They’re a young team, they spent a lot of money to improve their bench, and up until the All-Star break, they looked to be on pace to claim the number 1 seed with ease.

  4. JMClarkent - Mar 31, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    The curse of Andrew Bynum!

  5. beach305 - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    @EthanJSkolnick: Bosh: “When the Pacers were talking, No. 1 seed… We were like, it’s August. Calm down.”

  6. 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 31, 2014 at 11:46 PM

    The guy who decided Frank Vogel (Frank Vogel!) should be the guy to sell Dove soap is getting called into the boss’ office right about now.

  7. savvybynature - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    Pop: “You don’t try to go lose. You just keep playing. Eventually, the percentages are with us I think. We’ll lose here pretty soon.”
    Ha! Love me some Pop, great coach.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - Apr 1, 2014 at 7:14 AM

      Me too. How can you not love a coach who holds TD out of a game and writes “DNP – old”??

      Pop didn’t blow it in Game 6. He had the right guys out there for the situation. The critical rebound happened to go to CB, who happened to find no one in the way of a pass to Ray. You just cannot anticipate everything.

      I hope for a rematch against either San Antonio or Oklahoma City. Both are great teams with top-notch organizations and fans behind them, and the past two years set the perfect dramatic stage for either opponent.

  8. seattlesuperchronic - Apr 1, 2014 at 12:13 AM


    To say the Spurs fan base is tortured is crazy. Sure they haven’t one anything in a while, but they have awesome memories of that team dominating. The Spurs are still an awesome team and their fans love them regardless. I know it didn’t go down like this, but the Spurs were one Ray Allen prayer from winning last year. I don’t think Popovich made a mistake that cost San Antonio the championship last year. Be happy for your team, no need to poo poo others’.

  9. 00maltliquor - Apr 1, 2014 at 4:11 AM

    Kinda hard to believe that’s a new Spurs record. It seems like they get that at least ince a year

  10. sportfan2 - Apr 1, 2014 at 6:55 AM

    Even if the Pacers shoot 50% they still lose. The team is lacking talent in many areas.

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